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Screening long-term variability and change of soil moisture in a changing climate
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Number of Authors: 2
2014 (English)In: Journal of Hydrology, ISSN 0022-1694, E-ISSN 1879-2707, Vol. 516, 131-139 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Soil moisture is an essential component of water variability and change in the landscape. This paper develops a conceptual and analytical framework for linking hydro-climatic change at the surface and soil-groundwater conditions in the subsurface, and quantifying long-term development of soil moisture statistics in a changing climate. Soil moisture is evaluated both in the unsaturated zone and over a fixed soil depth that may also include a variable groundwater table. Long-term variability and change of soil moisture are assessed for a hydro-climatic observation record that extends over the whole 20th century in a major Swedish drainage basin. Frequencies of particularly dry and wet soil moisture events are investigated for different 20-year climatic periods. Results show major increase in the frequency of dry events from the beginning to the end of the 20th century. This indicates increased risk for hydrological and agricultural drought even though the risk for meteorological drought, in terms of precipitation, has decreased in the region. The developed quantification framework can also be used to screen future scenarios of soil moisture change under projected climate change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 516, 131-139 p.
Keyword [en]
Soil moisture, Groundwater table, Climate change, Hydro-climate, Drought
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106739DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2014.01.059ISI: 000339036100012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-106739DiVA: diva2:739128
Note

AuthorCount:2;

Available from: 2014-08-20 Created: 2014-08-19 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Modeling long-term variability and change of soil moisture and groundwater level - from catchment to global scale
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Modeling long-term variability and change of soil moisture and groundwater level - from catchment to global scale
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The water stored in and flowing through the subsurface is fundamental for sustaining human activities and needs, feeding water and its constituents to surface water bodies and supporting the functioning of their ecosystems. Quantifying the changes that affect the subsurface water is crucial for our understanding of its dynamics and changes driven by climate change and other changes in the landscape, such as in land-use and water-use. It is inherently difficult to directly measure soil moisture and groundwater levels over large spatial scales and long times. Models are therefore needed to capture the soil moisture and groundwater level dynamics over such large spatiotemporal scales.

This thesis develops a modeling framework that allows for long-term catchment-scale screening of soil moisture and groundwater level changes. The novelty in this development resides in an explicit link drawn between catchment-scale hydroclimatic and soil hydraulics conditions, using observed runoff data as an approximation of soil water flux and accounting for the effects of snow storage-melting dynamics on that flux. Both past and future relative changes can be assessed by use of this modeling framework, with future change projections based on common climate model outputs. By direct model-observation comparison, the thesis shows that the developed modeling framework can reproduce the temporal variability of large-scale changes in soil water storage, as obtained from the GRACE satellite product, for most of 25 large study catchments around the world. Also compared with locally measured soil water content and groundwater level in 10 U.S. catchments, the modeling approach can reasonably well reproduce relative seasonal fluctuations around long-term average values.

The developed modeling framework is further used to project soil moisture changes due to expected future climate change for 81 catchments around the world. The future soil moisture changes depend on the considered radiative forcing scenario (RCP) but are overall large for the occurrence frequency of dry and wet events and the inter-annual variability of seasonal soil moisture. These changes tend to be higher for the dry events and the dry season, respectively, than for the corresponding wet quantities, indicating increased drought risk for some parts of the world.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 2016. 36 p.
Series
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 57
Keyword
hydrology, physically-based model, groundwater, soil moisture
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128322 (URN)978-91-7649-387-8 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
Public defence
2016-09-22, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-08-30 Created: 2016-03-23 Last updated: 2016-08-31Bibliographically approved

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